Expressing his regret over escalation of human casualties in Gaza due to Israel’s bombardments, the most influential Iranian Sunni leader emphasized the need for immediate ceasefire by mediation and intervention of the governments of the region and all powers.
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid was talking to tens of thousands of people in Zahedan’s biggest Friday prayers ceremony on Oct. 20, 2023.
The situation in Gaza is turning into a “humanitarian disaster”
The Iranian top Sunni scholar denounced killing of innocent people and demolishing Gaza in Palestine, saying: “All over the globe, people witness that thousands of innocents, including women and children, are being killed in Gaza; this is an unimaginable human disaster. It is true that initially some Jews were killed, but this incident has been reaching to a dangerous stage. One side has a big power, and the whole world supports it and provides all required facilities. On the other side, they do not have much power and facilities, and all their infrastructures have been destroying. Most of the dead in Gaza are civilians.”
“The bitter events in Gaza make the eyes dark and the hearts sad. Bombs have been falling like rain on the people of Gaza. People are displaced, and no government accepts them as refugees. Water, electricity, and food have been cut off to the people of Gaza. The siege of Gaza causes the destruction of the people of the city,” said the Friday Imam of Zahedan.
The continuation of war in Gaza will be in the detriment of Israel
The president of Darululoom Zahedan continued his Friday speech, and said: “For a long time, Islamic and non-Islamic governments were indifferent about Palestine. Now, these shocking events warn everyone to be aware of their situation and take decisive measures to stop the war forever. International communities, Muslim and Arab countries must carry out their duty well. If the war continues, it will be to the detriment of Israel; because the people of the world will see these painful scenes.”
“No one can tolerate such tragic scenes. We believe that the people of Gaza are human, and they should not be massacred and displaced. We condemn this crime and ask the United Nations and human rights organizations, international communities and all the governments of the world to intervene to free the prisoners and stop this destructive war,” the eminent Iranian Sunni scholar of Zahedan added more.
He said: “The international community must find the right way and solution to make a fair decision. The world should protest against this cruel attack and persuade Israel to put an end to the war. The Western powers and governments that support Israel must stop the war. A ceasefire should be established, and the hostages and prisoners should be released.”
The deadly attack on a hospital in Gaza was a terrible crime
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid referred to the attack on al-Mamdani hospital in Gaza, and said: “The attack on Gaza hospital was a human crime which left so many casualties. We strongly condemn this heinous crime. We follow the moderate path and request the international community to conduct an unbiased investigation about the issue. Public opinion believes that the Palestinians do not have such destructive weapons that can create such a massacre. Therefore, international communities should not be indifferent in this regard.”
Despite the order of the founder of the Islamic Republic, some prevented Sunnis to have a mosque in Tehran
Referring to the demolition of Tehran’s Friday prayers house, the eminent Sunni scholar of Zahedan said: “Unfortunately, a shocking incident took place in Tehran last week. It was unbelievable that they (authorities) created problems for the Sunnis of Tehran in their prayer house of Poonak. They destroyed some parts of the building and transferred its documents, disowning the real owners of the building.”
Shaikh Abdol-Hamid reminded the efforts of Mawlana Abdol-Aziz to build a mosque for the Sunni community in Tehran, and said: “When Mawlana Abdol-Aziz, founder of Darululoom Zahedan, was hospitalized at Rajaie Hospital of Tehran, the founder of the Islamic Republic was also admitted to the same hospital. He used to respect Shaikh Abdol-Aziz much. One day, Mawlana Abdol-Aziz asked the former supreme leader to allot the Sunnis a land for building a mosque in Tehran. They should worship Allah freely, and establish Friday and daily regular prayers in the mosque. The founder of the Islamic Republic accepted the request and ordered the authorities to allot a land to Shaikh Abdol-Aziz. Newspapers and the official radio released the news. The place was determined. Sunnis were pleased that they are going to have a mosque in the capital of the country. Unfortunately, some hidden hands and fanatics created obstacles, and they did not allow Sunnis to build a mosque in Tehran. They were not ordinary people.”
“If you allow Sunnis to build mosques in Tehran, it will be in favor of the revolution, the government, and authorities. When we say that Shiites and Sunnis are brothers, and follow the same Qur’an and imitate one prophet, then why you do not allow your Sunni brothers to build a mosque in Tehran? Foreign guests and those who come to Tehran, ask to show us mosques of Sunnis, but there is no mosque in Tehran for the Sunni Muslims. Officials should show up tolerance, patience and should have a high vision,” he continued his points.
“If we were on the place you stand, and the Shiite brothers referred to us to have mosques, we would not stay even for a moment. The both sects worship Allah in mosques. If the Shiite brothers ask us for help, we will help them,” Mawlana Abdol-Hamid believed.
Plumbing of the central Sunni prayer house in Tehran has worried all free people
The president of Darululoom Zahedan went on to say: “When Sunnis were not allowed to build mosques in Tehran, they started praying in houses and prayer rooms. The prayer house of Poonak was the largest prayer house for Sunnis in Tehran. Whenever I traveled to Tehran and participated in conferences, I used to offer prayers in the hotel. I did not go to “Nabi Rahmat” prayer house of Poonak to avoid creating sensitivity. It should be said that there has never been a political speech in those prayer houses. They have participated in the elections, and were adhered to unity, but they faced problems. A few years ago, the prayer house was attacked and for a while it was closed, then it was reopened until the recent unpleasant incident happened.”
“These days, while people are worried about the situation in Palestine and Gaza, unfortunately, the authorities ambushed on the Poonak prayer house and completely occupied it. Some walls were built to halt people from entering the spot. This action has worried all Sunnis and free Shiite brothers. Did this prayer house hit our Shia brothers and scholars or the government? As it is an obligation for Sunnis to establish Friday prayers, what will answer the authorities by destroying Sunnis’ prayer house?” he said more.
Narrow religious and fanatic views shut the prayer house down
“All governments, especially Islamic governments, have a duty to provide places for establishing prayers. In our country, there have been efforts and budgets have been allocated for offering prayers, and there are official responsibilities and plans in this regard. As Sunni brothers and as Muslims, we have a right to worship Allah freely without any restrictions,” said Imam of the Grand Makki Mosque of Zahedan.
“What has happened in this prayer house was only to ban worshippers from prayers, and it is a sign of religious prejudices. Sunnis of Tehran avoided from the political matters of other places, but they only practiced their religion and maintained unity and fraternity,” he said.
Mawlana Abdol-Hamid strongly criticized president Raisi’s administration, and said: “We strongly criticize the president Raisi and his administration. Mr. Raisi! You are a cleric, and you were trained in seminaries. You and I had long-standing greetings. How do you close the prayer house of Sunnis in Tehran? Which wisdom allows you to do this?”
He added: “We allow neither ourselves nor our people to violate the rights of Shia brothers. All the affairs of the country are in your hands, but you cannot tolerate a prayer house in Tehran. We hope that elders and high-ranking officials will solve the issue.”
The Friday Khateeb of Zahedan warned that if the authorities want to solve issues like Zahedan’s Bloody Friday, they must not create more problems like the problem of Tehran’s prayer house of the Sunni community.
At the end of his speech, Shaikh Abdol-Hamid referred to the ban of some Sunni scholars from traveling to Zahedan. He urged that all such restrictions must be eliminated soon.